Peachy-Keen… Hello Hump Day Readers. I hope you are all having a “peachy-keen” day! Don’t you love some of those old quips? What I find fun is using them especially around the younger generation and they look at me like a deer in head-lights! Then I get the opportunity to share a few more of those quips and get them laughing.

We have a peach tree here at our campsite. It is beautiful and our first year it gave us over 300 peaches! It was interesting for us because only Al eats peaches—I am allergic! But we would put them out in a basket for the campers with a sign “free peaches just for you” and they loved it. However, they also would be so kind by making us a peach cobbler or peach pie. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that “only Al can eat it!”

Last year the winds were so high many of the developing peaches were carried away to never-never-land. This year we had a lot of buds and it was growing like crazy and then there was nothing. It was like a barren tree and we were stumped. The only thing we could come up with was, while we were up on our week off in the Rocky Mountains, the squirrels had a feed-fest with them…or? Who knows. Al cut it back and we’re hoping that this pruning will give us a “peachy-keen” harvest in 2024.

All of this takes me to Jesus and the story of the fig tree because that story is a lot like our unpredictable peach tree which we have begun to think is cursed! Using the Message translation from Matthew 21:18-22, read what Jesus did and said: “Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree alongside the road, he approached it anticipating a breakfast of figs. When he got to the tree, there was nothing but fig leaves. He said, “No more figs from this tree—ever!” The fig tree withered on the spot, a dry stick. The disciples saw it happen. They rubbed their eyes, saying, “Did we really see this? A leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next?” But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”

Our peach tree is like the fig tree, it produces peaches first then the leaves. If Jesus was wanting a peach for breakfast, he would have cursed our tree as well! This story should challenge us to inspect “our own branches”—you know, our words and actions. How often have we promised but didn’t come through; or determined to find time for prayer and forgot; or decided to delve into God’s Word but found a different substitute? In other words, what fruit are we producing?

My favorite fruit is apples, sweet/tart and crispy. Before my parents moved to northern Wisconsin, we had 12 apple trees and a huge variety of other fruits and veggies. My mom and dad tended those trees with loving care knowing that they would give us delicious pies, caramel apples, dunking apples, applesauce—anything “apple!” Our backyard was a carnival of fruit for the whole block. I cherished those days and I remember the hard work needed to produce the delicious fruits and veggies.

However, I am often like my peach tree, under-nourished, feeling dried up and withered. I’m just too dang busy to stop for prayer, to read the power of God’s Word, to sit next to my Savior in His silence which gives me peace. I have other stuff to do but I forget what is the most important.

In closing, most of us could say it’s not the “peachy-keen” we’d like. For me, I want to change that and I hope you do, too. The good news is the antidote is free and it’s been here forever: Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life.” That invitation from Jesus is always open, use it often and your life will begin to produce those incredible fruits: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Now that is living “peachy-keen!” AMEN.